Author : Ashwin Sanghi
Genre : Historical Fiction
Pages : 448
Language : English
Publication Year : 2010
Is Review Spoiler : No
Awards : It won the 2010 Vodafone Crossword Book Award
Rating : 3.5/5
Chanakya’s Chant is the second book by Ashwin Sanghi after Rozabella Line which was written by Ashwin Sanghi with pseudonym Shawn Haigins. The style of writing is in similar lines with his last book, where modern-day events linked with the events occurred few thousand-year back.
The events in the book flips through the two events, one taking place in few thousand-year back another one taking place in modern india. The story revolvers around the Chanakya the great political strategist of ancient India and Gangasagar Mishra modern-day Chankya.
The theme in both the stories, first one Ashwin retells the story of Chankya and how he make Chandragupta Maurya the emperor of Magadha. In parallel the novel also tells the fictional tale of a Mishra from Uttar Pradesh, Gangasagar Mishra, who decides to mentor a little girl from Kanpur’s slums and groom her to become India’s Prime Minister.
The best part of the story is – the way author tied up the two stories running in different time with single theme (i.e., Chanakya). In one part he retells the story of Chanakya and about his strategies (Nithies) and in second part Mishra uses Chankya’s startgies to make a woman indian prime minister similarly as Chanakya did with Chandragupta Maurya (he made him the emperor of Magadha). Overall a nice read for any Historical fiction fan but don’t expect much from this one because most of you may know the first part of the story (Chanakya’s part).
The year is 340 BC. A hunted, haunted Brahmin youth vows revenge for the gruesome murder of his beloved father. Cold, calculating, cruel and armed with a complete absence of accepted morals, he becomes the most powerful political strategist in Bharat and succeeds in uniting a ragged country against the invasion of the army of that demigod, Alexander the Great. Pitting the weak edges of both forces against each other, he pulls off a wicked and astonishing victory and succeeds in installing Chandragupta on the throne of the mighty Mauryan empire.
History knows him as the brilliant strategist Chanakya. Satisfied—and a little bored—by his success as a kingmaker, through the simple summoning of his gifted mind, he recedes into the shadows to write his Arthashastra, the ‘science of wealth’. But history, which exults in repeating itself, revives Chanakya two and a half millennia later, in the avatar of Gangasagar Mishra, a Brahmin teacher in small town India who becomes puppeteer to a host of ambitious individuals—including a certain slum child who grows up into a beautiful and powerful woman.
Modern India happens to be just as riven as ancient Bharat by class hatred, corruption and divisive politics and this landscape is Gangasagar’s feasting ground. Can this wily pandit—who preys on greed, venality and sexual deviance—bring about another miracle of a united India? Will Chanakya’s chant work again?